New Judgment: R (Adams) v SSJ  UKSC 18
11 Wednesday May 2011
The three appellants in this case each claimed compensation under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, s 133 following the quashing of their convictions for murder by the Court of Appeal, which were refused on the ground that the appellants had not shown that a ‘miscarriage of justice’ had occurred. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal of Mr Adams and by a majority allowed the appeals of Mr MacDermott and Mr McCartney. The majority held that a ‘miscarriage of justice’ had occurred for the purposes of s 133 when a new or newly discovered fact shows conclusively that the evidence against a defendant has been so undermined that no conviction could possibly be based upon it. Of the four categories in which the CA would quash a conviction on the basis of fresh evidence, Mr Adams’ appeal was unanimously dismissed on the ground that his was a category 3 (where it rendered the conviction unsafe in that, had it been available at the trial, a reasonable jury might or might not have convicted the defendant) case and did not fall within s 133. The majority allowed the appeals of Mr McCartney and Mr MacDermott as it had been shown conclusively that the evidence against them had been so undermined that no conviction could possibly be based upon it. The minority would have remitted their cases to the Secretary of State for further consideration in the light of the judgment.